What the hell is up with every magazine, regardless of its focus, trying to dip its toes into politics? It’s been happening for a while, and it never fails to come across as not just annoying, but stupid. The latest example comes from women’s magazine Marie Claire. It started, for me at least, with this coming across my Twitter feed:
— Marie Claire (@marieclaire) November 14, 2017
The article is about five things Taylor Swift supposedly should have addressed in her new album, “Reputation,” but didn’t. First and foremost, however, was politics.
“Fall of 2016 saw a slew of celebrities get vocally and visibly involved in the political process, supporting candidates and encouraging their fans to get out and vote,” it starts off, failing to note that by doing so, all of those celebrities angered countless fans and possibly lost revenue due to their decision to talk about their preferred candidate in such a divisive race.
Swift did post a photo of her voting, and many interpreted that to mean she sided with Hillary Clinton based on some bizarre theory by Lena Dunham, but the important thing here is, who the hell cares?
Taylor Swift is a singer, not a political analyst. She’s not pounding away at the keyboard for PJ Media or The Daily Beast or any other politically focused site with the intent of discussing the issues of the day. She’s a performer, an entertainer.
As such, it’s no one’s business who she voted for.
In reality, Swift owes no one any explanation about who she voted for or why she voted that way. None at all. And Marie Claire‘s writer, Kayleigh Roberts, somewhat acknowledges that fact. “Taylor is not required to be open about her politics, of course,” Roberts begins before illustrating that she doesn’t quite get it, “but it’s also fair to question her decision to remain silent in what was a particularly contentious and consequential presidential battle.”
No, it’s not.
You may have the right to question her decision, but it’s not a fair question. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
The fact of the matter is, there was no candidate to choose that wasn’t going to anger someone. Had Swift said she was with Hillary, Trump supporters would have called for a boycott of her music on that fact alone. The same would have happened if she’d announced she was on the Trump Train. Announcing her support for a candidate was a losing proposition for her, someone who wants to have a broad appeal to as many Americans as possible.
No one has a right to know anyone else’s politics. While those of us who write about our opinions on politics tend to share ours, it’s not so much that we have an obligation to share those opinions so much as it’s an occupational hazard. We can’t discuss our opinions on health care, gun control, illegal immigration, or any other issue without delving into our politics.
But Swift doesn’t do that. She sings. She sings poppy songs about breakups and lost loves, the kind of thing our kids drive us crazy with because they have to be replayed over and over and over.
Roberts finishes up the section on Swift’s politics by saying, “Whether she likes it or not, Taylor’s politics (or her perceived political apathy) are a part of her reputation, and a song addressing or at least acknowledging that (even if the song did not address her personal politics) would have been impactful.” You know, it might have been, but she still doesn’t owe anyone anything when it comes to politics.
The truth is, I’m more annoyed by the fact that people like Roberts expect commentary from recording artists on politics than I am that Swift didn’t share anything. Frankly, I wish more artists would follow her lead.